Happy 30th: Chaka Khan, Destiny
30 years ago today, the woman often referred to as the Queen of Funk released her sixth studio album as a solo artist.
Having ruled the charts with her previous album, I Feel For You, Chaka Khan was primed and ready to keep her momentum going, but in developing the sonic template for Destiny, she opted for a sound that was steeped decidedly more in the realm of pop and rock than in the R&B and funk material that she’d been delivering for the majority of her career up to that point. Not that a woman doesn’t have the prerogative to change her mind as well as her music, but while the end result was filled from top to bottom with contributions from some of the most talented musicians, singers, and songwriters in the business, it wasn’t exactly what Chaka’s fans were used to hearing from her.
Four singles were released from Destiny over the course of 14 months: “Love of a Lifetime,” written by David Gamson and Green Gartside of Scritti Politti, “Tight Fit,” by Bunny Siegler and Marvin Morrow, “The Other Side of the World,” by B.A. Robertson and Mike Rutherford (yes, the one out of Genesis and Mike + The Mechanics), and “Earth to Mickey,” written by – wait for it – Joshua Fried, Reggie Griffin, Arif Mardin, Charlie Singleton, and Jeremy Wolff.
The fact that one of the songs is credited to five different writers is somewhat representative of the album as a whole, which is to say that it took a lot of people to make each and every song on Destiny. This is not hyperbole: there are 45 performers credited on the album, and that’s not even counting the folks listed within the production, engineering, and assorted other behind-the-scenes credits. Phil Collins, Marcus Miller, Fred Maher, Michael Brecker, Robbie Buchanan, Steve Ferrone, Paul Pesco, Hugh Pagdham, Glen Ballard, Jack Joseph Puig… They’re all in the mix in some capacity or other. The end result is memorable, to be sure, but as far as its chart success, alas, it didn’t come anywhere close to matching I Feel For You.
Two years later, Chaka Khan returned with a new album entitled CK, and it was more successful than its predecessor on the R&B charts. As such, she didn’t go out of her way to deliver any further pop-rock albums, but she did continue to release great music, so let’s just call Destiny an interesting detour.